Résumés are just not a product for which meaningful guarantees of results are possible.

Job searches are too variable, and there are many factors other than the résumé. A lot depends on the particular field, the overall job market at the time, the market for someone’s particular specialty at that time and in their location, or even the time of year. In many fields, it could easily be more than 30 days before you get an interview, or even before you find someone with an opening you’re interested in. And in the end, your own experience is a big factor, too. And the hiring process itself is too uncertain and often quite irrational.

If you send in your résumé and don’t get a response from one particular employer, it’s quite possible that the reasons had nothing to do with your résumé. That employer may have been looking for someone with different experience, or more experience—or less. Many employers won’t consider applications from people who aren’t currently employed. (That’s stupid, but that’s the way it is.) Or they may have had someone else in mind for the job all along, but had to post the opening to check off a procedural or regulatory check box.

All résumé services require payment in advance, with no refunds. If you see what looks like an exception, look closer, and you’ll see the catch.

No experienced professional, and no sound business, does first-rate work unless they’re certain they’re going to be paid for it.

(Crystal Résumés takes payment in two stages, but both are up front: half in advance, half after the in-depth interview is completed, and before I start writing the résumé.)

How do the services who offer half-up-front deals and “guarantees” work it?

Occasionally, you’ll see something like this: “$300 in advance, and $300 on delivery.” From what I’ve seen, this means you’re getting a $300 résumé (at best), and if they collect the other $300, it’s gravy.

Perhaps there are some that offer a real guarantee—but add a large premium to all fees to cover the risk of non-payment.

But almost always, the “guarantee” takes this form: “Guaranteed interviews in 30 days or we re-write your résumé for free!”

If you call them on the free rewrite guarantee, you’ll have to submit a lot of documentation in support of your claim. And then you’ll have to put up with a bureaucratic runaround designed to make you give up.

And the free rewrite doesn’t mean much in any case, if you think about it. If their quality was poor in the first place, it’s not likely that the same people are going to make much improvement on the second go-round. They might just quickly rephrase things, differently but not better, so they can say they’ve rewritten. That’s just part of the runaround.

If your résumé was written by a résumé mill with a stable of cheap writers, and one of their writers did an exceptionally bad job, it will give them a chance to give it to another writer—who may or may not do much better.

Meanwhile, you’re wasting job-search time and losing opportunities.








Propaganda: “That branch of the
art of lying which consists in very
nearly deceiving your friends without
quite deceiving your enemies.”

— F.M. Cornford, classical scholar and   
historian of philosophy
(Microcosmographia Academica,
preface to the 1922 ed.)